On August 8, 2012, the Department of Ecology (Ecology) amended
Chapter 173-360 WAC, Underground Storage Tank Regulations, to implement
new federal requirements. Underground storage tanks (USTs) are
regulated to prevent releases of petroleum and other hazardous
substances. The Legislature found that such releases pose a serious
threat to human health and the environment, including the ground waters
of the state.
UPDATE – AUGUST 8, 2012 – RULE AMENDMENTS
On August 8, 2012, the Department of Ecology (Ecology) adopted
changes to Chapter 173-360 WAC, Underground Storage Tank (UST)
Regulations. The changes will be published in the Washington State
Register on September 5, 2012, and become effective on October 1,
To get copies of the adopted rule amendments and learn more about
the changes, click here.
Scope of the rule making
The purpose of this rule making is to implement changes specified by
the Legislature in Substitute Senate Bill 5475 (2007), which amended
chapter 90.76 RCW. The changes are necessary to comply with the new
federal requirements in the Underground Storage Tank Compliance Act of
2005 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 15801 et seq., Energy Policy Act of 2005, P.L.
109-58, Title XV, subtitle B). The rule amendments:
- Authorize Ecology to stop regulated substances from being delivered
to UST systems that do not comply with regulatory requirements.
- Establish an operator training program for individuals who operate
and maintain UST systems. Current operators must be trained by December
- Require emergency response signage at all UST facilities.
- Require secondary containment and interstitial monitoring of tanks and pipes installed or
replaced after October 1, 2012.
- Require containment under dispenser systems if the dispenser,
dispenser system, or underground piping connected to the dispenser
system is installed or replaced after October 1, 2012.
Reasons for the rule making
The rule amendments are necessary to:
Comply with the Legislature's directive in Substitute Senate Bill 5475 (2007) to
adopt rules that are consistent with and no less stringent than the new
federal requirements in
the Underground Storage Tank Compliance Act of 2005.
- Maintain federal funding for our state UST program. Such funding is
contingent on state compliance with the requirements in the Underground Storage Tank
Compliance Act of 2005.
- Reduce the number, duration, and severity of releases of petroleum and other
hazardous substances from regulated UST systems in this state, which pose a serious
threat to human health and the environment, including drinking water.
Partial suspension of the rule making
Ecology evaluated the UST rule making in accordance with Governor
Gregoire's November 17, 2010 Executive Order (10-06), extended on
October 11, 2011 (11-03), to suspend non-critical rule making. Based on
that evaluation, Ecology decided to continue with some parts of the rule
making while suspending other parts.
What parts of the rule making continued?
Ecology continued rule making to address topics necessary to comply
with the federal requirements in the Underground Storage Tank
Compliance Act of 2005 (the Act). Those topics are identified
above. This part of the rule making met exemption criteria
3(a) under Executive Order 11-03 (required by federal or state
law or required to maintain federally delegated or authorized
What parts of the rule making have been suspended?
Ecology originally planned to address other topics in the rule
making in response to proposed changes to the federal UST rule,
discussed below. When we began the rule-making process, we expected
that EPA would complete its revisions to the federal UST rule well
before we needed to file our rule proposal to meet deadlines under
the Act. However, that did not happen. Consequently, Ecology
decided to suspend rule making on the following topics because they
no longer met the exemption criteria under Executive Order 11-03:
- Topics being addressed in the federal rule making that are not required under
- Financial responsibility, which was considered by EPA, but is
not currently being addressed in the federal rule making.
For more information about the rule making suspension, visit:
Federal rule-making information
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently in the
process of amending the federal UST rule (40 CFR Part 280). The focus of
the amendments is on proper operation and maintenance of UST system
equipment. EPA expects these revisions will help improve the prevention
and detection of releases from UST systems, which are one of the leading
sources of ground water contamination.
EPA is also proposing to update the state program approval (SPA)
requirements in 40 CFR Part 281 to incorporate the proposed changes to
the federal UST rule identified above. Under the proposal, states will
have three years after the adoption of the federal rule amendments to
update their own rules to comply with the minimum requirements in the
updated federal rule.
On November 18, 2012, EPA submitted its proposed rule amendments for
public comment. EPA subsequently extended the public comment period
until April 16, 2012. EPA does not expect to complete the rule
making before May 2013.
For more information about the federal rule making, see
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The ECOLOGY-UST-RULE e-mail list has been established to provide updates on the
UST rule making. If you would like to receive e-mail updates about the
rule making and related information, please sign up. If you have already
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UST Program Info
For more info about
the UST Program,
Ecology Rule Page